Why do we go to school?

Petty Officer 3rd Class Cody Woolam, a machinery technician with the Coast Guard Cutter Naushon’s engineering department, welcomes students aboard the cutter in Juneau, Alaska, April 6, 2015. The visit to the cutter involved a tour and presentations by members of the crew in different specialties. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Cody Woolam, a machinery technician with the Coast Guard Cutter Naushon’s engineering department, welcomes students aboard the cutter in Juneau, Alaska, April 6, 2015. The visit to the cutter involved a tour and presentations by members of the crew in different specialties. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Grant DeVuyst.

It’s a question many young students have asked at some point during their 13-year stint of primary education.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Houvener, a marine science technician at Coast Guard Sector Juneau, gives a miniature oil spill response demonstration at Coast Guard Station Juneau.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Christopher Houvener, a marine science technician at Coast Guard Sector Juneau, gives a miniature oil spill response demonstration at Coast Guard Station Juneau.

One answer: to find a fulfilling career. That’s what students were looking to learn about when they visited Coast Guard Station Juneau and the Coast Guard Cutter Naushon.

“They’re all from Western Alaska; a lot of them live up rivers from towns and villages,” said Mac Metcalfe, an instructor with the Southeast Regional Resource Center. “What we’re trying to do is introduce them at an early age to careers that involve math, science, engineering, that sort of thing.”

The event was arranged between Coast Guard Sector Juneau and SERRC, and focused specifically on Coast Guard careers that involved science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The students’ interest was palpable when topics included guns, helicopters and fast-moving boats. It’s the stuff of movies and television with which they were most familiar.

“They’re super excited about getting on the assets,” said Frizzell. “Most of the questions are what you would hear from a typical sixth-grader.”

Those ran the gamut from weaponry to life saving to how much time crews spend out at sea. What may have come as a surprise to the students, who come from an area with little Coast Guard presence, was the variety in support roles.

Petty Officer 1st Class Mark Osborne, a gunner’s mate with the Coast Guard Cutter Naushon’s operations department, talks to students about the cutter’s 25 mm cannon in Juneau, Alaska.

Petty Officer 1st Class Mark Osborne, a gunner’s mate with the Coast Guard Cutter Naushon’s operations department, talks to students about the cutter’s 25 mm cannon in Juneau, Alaska.

Included in the Partnership In Education events were marine science technicians, information systems technology specialists and officers from a variety of fields.

Far from their towns and villages in Western Alaska, the students were able to learn about a branch of the military they don’t see often and, more importantly, they gained a better understanding of the importance of education. The story does not end here, though. The SERRC staff plans to bring the same students to Juneau every year as they draw close to the end of their primary education.

“I think it will be great for them to continue to come,” said Frizzell on the second of two student visits. “I’m looking forward to participating in it for the next few years that I’m here.”

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